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Title: The Birth of Shakespeare
Author: [livejournal.com profile] timeboundpythia
Disclaimer: Silk and its characters don’t belong to me.
Rating: PG
Spoilers: All series.
Summary: It’s the first year, and the last.

She’s there when he wakes up.

“Can’t get rid of me yet, Miss,” Billy drawls, rasping his voice to life.

“Do you want me to call them?” she asks, pushing out of her seat to pour a glass of water and hold it to his lips.


Without pause, she agrees, “Okay.” She waits, patiently, until he’s drunk all that he can, which isn’t much.

Billy sinks back against the starched pillows of his hospital bed. “What’re you going to do?”

“I don’t know.”

He watches her sit back down, weariness edging her features.

Martha’s lips twitch. “Yet.”

He smirks.





She rounds on him, suddenly enough that he tasks a few hasty steps back. “What did you think was going to happen, Clive? This is my family; my home, my--“

“Then stay!” he exclaims.

“And jump through hoops for you as you coax your pet defence girl into prosecuting?” Martha shakes her head. “No. You made your decision. You knew what it would mean.”

“I didn’t think--“

“You did think. And you chose.”

He sighs and sits on the edge of his desk. “You’re not being fair, Mar,” Clive murmurs.

She stills, then resumes collecting everything on her desk into a box. “I heard you.”


“You and her. Shagging this place into a prosecution set. You made your choice.”

His lips start to curl, but, just as quickly, he lets it go and pushes away from his desk, to leave the room at a clip. “So did you. It wasn’t ever going to be me.”


It’s starts out as a joke. Lady Macbeth and Queen Elizabeth against the world. But the name sticks. Shakespeare Chambers starts out small, tainted by venom and lost hope, but it grows. Billy visits and brings them news from Shoe Lane - who wants out and when Harriet realises that she’s been had, in more ways than one - and it begins to feel like home.

Clive doesn’t dare show his face.


It’s not so long before Jake offers to jump ship and come to work for them. Their head clerk is good, and finds decent clerks, but none of them are Billy, and they’ve not been moulded by him either. Caroline says they should steal him and to hell with the Others, as they call them now, but Martha hesitates. Jake’s a good kid, but a kid with Shoe Lane’s baggage, and he’ll never quite be free of the lot of them. Shakespeare is a clean break. If he jumps, they might not be enough to catch him.

Martha crosses paths with Clive in court.

“Save him,” he murmurs, with the brush of his shoulder against hers.

The day that Jake’s installed in the clerks' room is the day that Billy ends up back in hospital.


“I’m sorry.”

“Are you? Really? For yourself or--“

“For all of us.”

She stares at the little plaque on the wall. No gravestone. “It didn’t have to be this way. His last year. You could have prevented it.”

“For what purpose?” Clive asks, plainly rhetorical.

She answers anyway. “For what purpose do you do anything, Clive? For what purpose do any of us do anything?”

“...Come home,” he murmurs.

Martha smiles, bitter and triumphant. “I’ve built a new home. It’s not very big yet, and it’s not well established, but we’re making a name for ourselves.”

There’s discomforting longing in his eyes when he tells her, “I still love you.”

Turning away, she answers, “I know.”

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February 2016

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